Citrus and Herb Roast Chicken

25 Jun

When I posted my recipe for a perfect roast chicken back in July of last year, I wasn’t lying when I said that a simple roasted chicken is one of my favorite comfort foods and a weekly staple in our household.  Including that recipe, I have posted ten different variations of a roasted chicken, including a roasted chicken with fall flavors, a roast chicken with savory sweet potato soufflés, a dry rubbed roast chicken with Old Bay seasoning, an herb roasted chicken with accompanying herb butter, a caramelized chipotle-garlic roasted chicken, a sumac roast chicken, a roast chicken with hoisin-sriracha glaze, a coffee and orange brined chicken in milk, and a roast chicken with brown rice stuffing.

Basically, we really like roast chicken.  This roast chicken dish is another winner, with juicy, flavorful flesh with both herbaceous and citrus notes.  I paired this with a brown and wild rice cooked in some homemade chicken stock for a flavorful, easy, and filling meal.

Citrus and Herb Roast Chicken


2-3 cups water per pound of chicken

1/2 cup kosher salt per pound of chicken (less if you will be brining for longer than one hour per pound)

1/2 cup white, granulated sugar per pound of chicken

1 lemon, quartered lengthwise

1 orange, quartered lengthwise

1 onion, quartered

1 small bunch fresh thyme

1 small bunch fresh cilantro

1 small bunch fresh parsley

1 small bunch fresh rosemary

Freshly cracked black pepper


Ingredients from brine, reserved (see above)

2 tbs. olive oil, divided

1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

Freshly cracked black pepper

To begin, in a medium or large saucepan heat water.  A little at a time, add kosher salt and sugar while whisking until dissolved.  It may be necessary to add more water to the saucepan in order to dissolve all of the salt and sugar.  Once the salt and sugar are dissolved, transfer the water to a container large enough to hold the brining solution and chicken.  This can be done in a large ziplock bag, though I prefer to use a large stock pot.

Add all other brine ingredients and allow brining solution to cool to room temperature, placing solution in refrigerator for 15-20 minutes or adding ice if necessary.  Once the solution is room temperature or cool to the touch, add the chicken to the solution.  Place the chicken in the refrigerator and let soak in brining solution about one hour per pound (round up to the nearest hour).

Remove chicken from brining solution by straining through a colander.  Make sure you save all brining ingredients.  Dress the chicken with lemons, oranges, and herbs, being sure to separate the skin from the flesh and stuff some of the herbs under the skin.  Squeeze some of the lemon and orange juice over the chicken.  Rub chicken with 1 tbs. of olive oil both under and over skin.  Season with freshly cracked black pepper.

Allow the chicken to rest overnight, at least 18 hours.  This allows most of the moisture to evaporate from the skin of the chicken, which will result in a crispier skin (my favorite part!).

Preheat oven to 475°.

Remove chicken from refrigerator and place on a baking dish on top of a roasting rack.  Rub remaining tbs. olive oil over the chicken and season with crushed red pepper flakes.

Place chicken in preheated oven on center rack.  Roast at 475° for 15 minutes or until skin is light golden brown.  After 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350°.  Roast chicken roughly 20 minutes per pound (rounding up to nearest pound), or until meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken’s thigh reads 165º (yay, FDA, for lowering the safe internal temperature!).  If chicken becomes overly brown, tent with a piece of tinfoil.

When fully cooked, remove chicken from oven and cover with tinfoil.  Rest 15-20 minutes, which will allow juices to redistribute and result in a tender, juicy bird.

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